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  1. I want to convert a number of vhs tapes to DVDs.

    I am using the external Dazzle DVC100 video capture box by way of composite connections on one end to the VHS recorder and on the other end USB to computer to capture video tapes. I'm using the accompanying Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software which records to DVD format. It only seems to work at the resolution of 352 by 480. When I have tried better resolutions at 720 by 480, I get skipped frames and out of synch audio.

    Is Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software the best way to capture video or is there other software like Virtual dub or VirtualVCR that would do a better job?

    Although Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software saves time by recording directly to DVD format, if I were to capture the video in the AVI format first, would that be easier to capture at a higher resolution like 720 by 480 to get better quality video?

    Does the final DVD output look better on a DVD TV screen than on a computer monitor? It seems as though the sample captures I have made at 352 by 480 do not look as good on the computer monitor as they did on the TV monitor playing the vhs tapes. I don't know if the conversion to DVD format results in a degradation of quality or it has something to do with the different monitor types.
    Last edited by johnharlin; 20th Feb 2011 at 19:05.
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Is your profile up to date ?

    If it is then why are you using a Dazzle/Pinnacle combo when you already have a capture device present ? It aint very good. Seems you just found that out.
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  3. Yeah, my profile was not up to date. I do have an ATI video card on this computer but it is only outgoing for connection to a second monitor not for incoming. So that's why I needed the Dazzle/Pinnacle combo. I supposed I could swap out the old ATI card and put it in my current machine but that might cause a lot of issues and I'm not sure I would get any better quality anyway.
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  4. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnharlin
    would that be easier to capture at a higher resolution like 720 by 480 to get better quality video?
    If the original source is vhs and you intend to make standard definition dvds than no higher resolutions will do nothing for you and could negatively effect the video.

    Vhs is less than dvd resolution. Dvd is 720x480 and if you recorded higher than that it would need to be downconverted and any potential advantage gained would be lost on downconversion. However since you can't get higher than dvd resolution out of a vhs source that is pointless.

    However saving to avi using a dv-avi codec would be useful if you want to do frame accurate editing before conversion to dvd. (fyi that would be 13gb/hour for a dv-avi capture)

    Edit - sorry didnt' see the 352x480 part at the beginning. That is half d1 dvd resolution. That should be more than adequate for most vhs captures. Of course there is no harm in capping at 720x480 as long as you can get your device to accept that as a capture resolution. Most should do it its probably just a matter of digging around for the right setting.
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  5. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnharlin View Post
    I am using the external Dazzle DVC100 video capture box by way of composite connections on one end to the VHS recorder and on the other end USB to computer to capture video tapes. I'm using the accompanying Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software which records to DVD format. It only seems to work at the resolution of 352 by 480. When I have tried better resolutions at 720 by 480, I get skipped frames and out of synch audio.
    Checked your profile, and your PC specs should be fine so you likely have the horsepower to prevent dropped frames. But you must make sure you're not doing anything else on your PC, use maybe another harddrive other than C to capture, and have good cooling.

    Having said that, the next thing I'd blame is the product. I had a similar DVC 150 and it was horrid - and it wasn't lonesome little ol' me that felt that way. Many others too were in the same boat. I had similar problems to you with even faster PC specs. If this continues stop beating your head - just shop for another capture product, or get a DVR, which can be scored cheap on eBaY now. Less headaches, better quality.

    I always say that I believe Pinnacle/Dazzle products are so bad you can blame a divorce on them.

    Originally Posted by johnharlin
    Is Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software the best way to capture video or is there other software like Virtual dub or VirtualVCR that would do a better job?
    No, yes and a no afterwards.

    VirtualDub is the Lord of capturing to AVI. But the Dazzle products are proprietary and only work with their own software. You're likely out of luck here if you want to use VirtualDub or anything else.

    Originally Posted by johnharlin
    Although Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software saves time by recording directly to DVD format, if I were to capture the video in the AVI format first, would that be easier to capture at a higher resolution like 720 by 480 to get better quality video?
    Full agreement with Yoda here and anything above that is definitely overkill.

    I personally capture VHS to 720x480 for AVI formats and high-bitrate MPEG-2. But that's me. You can get away with smaller resolutions if you like when it comes to VHS. If you ask me, I'd say go the max at 720x480 if you can since it gives better options later.

    Originally Posted by johnharlin
    Does the final DVD output look better on a DVD TV screen than on a computer monitor? It seems as though the sample captures I have made at 352 by 480 do not look as good on the computer monitor as they did on the TV monitor playing the vhs tapes. I don't know if the conversion to DVD format results in a degradation of quality or it has something to do with the different monitor types.
    Not sure what equipment you use, but for one example, CRT TVs are more forgiving of bad quality than an LCD monitor so expect a difference. Something similar could be your case.

    Regardless, any encoding to MPEG-2/DvD, which is a lossy format, is degrading no matter what you do. But if you use higher bitrates the degradation will highly likely be much less visible.

    Most here that capture VHS -> digital use three formats:

    1) VHS -> lossless AVI (ex: HuffYUV, Lagarith) with high file sizes -> encode to DvD (or other target format)
    2) VHS -> DV (less file size than lossless) -> encode to DvD (or other target format)
    3) VHS -> MPEG-2/DvD direct

    All have their pros and cons and it depends how you wish to archive, how much storage you're able to allocate, how much time and/or processing you're willing to endure, how you'll edit, what target format you wish to use, etc.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 21st Feb 2011 at 07:03.
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  6. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by puzzler
    If you ask me, I'd say go the max at 720x480 if you can since it gives better options later.
    The only issue doing that is missing your target file size if you intend to use single layer dvdrs. If you use dual layers it should be ok for a two hour movie. In any event regardless of what you do record at use a bitrate calculator to make sure you get it right the first time. There are some in the tools section on this website.

    One note about using high bitrate - if you plan on doing a lot of editing with filters and such then use a high bitrate since you'd be doing another encode anyway and you'd probably be better off with more information to start with since you'll be encoding to your target size after the editing.

    Edit - don't forget to low-ball the target size a tad if you plan on doing fancy menus with motion and music and stuff - those bells and whistles take up disc space that you could use for the video itself - but if you have to go fancy just be sure your video leaves enough space on the disc so you don't have to transcode it afterwards after all your hard work.
    Last edited by yoda313; 21st Feb 2011 at 08:28.
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